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Skydark

Modified on 2012/04/25 22:56 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands
   Iron covered the fields and roads; iron points reflected the rays of the sun. This iron, so hard, was borne by a people whose hearts were harder still.

   - from Bullfinch's Mythology, "Legends of Charlemagne"
   atttributed to Ogier the Dane, ca. 800 AD

--

   From what same clay are both heroes and tyrants made?

   - from Relativism and Reality in Modern Political Thought
   by Dr. Donn Tretheway, D.D.,
   Patti Party Press, Sandpoint, Idaho, 1999



   As the companions arrive at a new redoubt, they have horrific jump dreams, in which they think they're stickies. When they awaken, they find that they're not alone in the gateway - there are several actual stickies there with them. They quickly kill the muties and head out into the redoubt, where they find evidence that more stickies have already used the gateway.
   When the elevator comes down, four more are in it; Ryan blows them away, then the companions pile in and head for the armory. The door is still sealed, so JB uses some plas-ex to blow it open. He succeeds, but he sets off a security alarm. They grab what they can and flee back to the elevator, where Ryan hits the buttons for every floor before they all climb out the hatch to the roof. As it reaches each floor, they shoot or blow up the stickies as they pile into the elevator, until it reaches the top. JB disables it, then they head out.
   Near dawn, they find the ruins of a ville that was recently sacked and burned. The damage was obviously inflicted by a horde of stickies. They find some survivors, though - a married couple and their baby. After convincing the pair they mean no harm, the companions learn that they're on the road to Willie ville, and that an army of stickies is also heading toward the ville. Despite the baron, Willie Elijah, being an old enemy of Ryan's, they need to warn the ville that the army's coming - if Willie ville falls, the stickies will sweep up the East Coast.
   Several hours of running later, they come upon the army. The stickies are gathered before an overpass, where their leader, Kaa, is standing. Ryan tries to get a bead on him, but he's moving around too much for a clear shot, so they detour around the army and keep going.
   A few hours later, the companions reach Willie ville. One of the gate guards, Johnson Lester, recognizes Ryan. He takes them all prisoner and takes them to see the baron.
   They tell Elijah that a stickie army is coming; he's understandably skeptical, but decides it wouldn't hurt to put the ville on alert - they say the army's only a few hours behind them. Meanwhile, he tosses them into the dungeon, and Krysty and Jak go to the zoo. As they're being taken away, Elijah demands to see Doc's swordstick, which Lester assumed was a cane. The baron finds the sword, and Lester is sentenced to three days in the pit, a room where slaves are chained to a huge wheel that raises and lowers the elevator in Elijah's tower.
   Kaa and his army reach Willie ville at nightfall, but he sees all the lights around the ville and realizes that they've been forewarned. Instead, he decides to wait until the next day, after everyone's combat edge has worn off.
   The next day, Elijah has Ryan brought to the top of the tower; Ryan has a rope tied to one leg and is dumped over the edge in a parody of bungee-jumping as punishment for past misdeed and for (supposedly) lying about the stickie attack. JB, Mildred, and Doc are sent to the fields to work with the muties. JB quickly picks the locks on their shackles, and the trio escapes and finds a tunnel back into the ville.
   While this is going on, the stickies free the muties in the fields and crawl through other tunnels into the ville, taking out enough gun emplacements to force a breach and let the rest over the wall. The army pours into the ville, heading straight for the tower in the center where Elijah and his people have taken shelter. Kaa himself goes to the zoo and free the prisoners there, including Krysty and Jak (who have been influenced by his power); they all join his army.
   Ryan, who was abandoned at the bottom of the rope, climbs back up while Mildred, Doc, and JB make their way to the cellar of the tower. They find a large store of paint, solvents, and chemicals left there a hundred years before; under JB's direction, they set everything in the elevator along with a grenade on a timer and have the slaves on the wheel raise it to the floor below the top. When it opens, it blows up, taking most of the stickies with it; the elevator itself crashes back to the basement, killing all the slaves in the wheelroom.
   Unfortunately, the stickies have gained the top floor by this time and nearly overrun it. Elijah's remaining daughter/wife begs him to kill her, but he refuses, so she shoots him and jumps over the railing. Ryan slides down the rope and rejoins his friends at the bottom. Kaa, seeing that his army is done, flees back to the redoubt with Jak, Krysty, and the remaining muties loyal to him. They jump to a new redoubt.
   The others are not far behind, but they make a detour to the armory to grab a small nuke, which they bring along through the gate. The second jump reverses the effects of Kaa's powers on Krysty and Jak, but Kaa is deadset on marrying Krysty, so he hauls her off to a nearby house to perform the ceremony and bed her. She escapes and frees Jak, and together they run back to the redoubt, where they rejoin the others. Ryan arms the nuke, and they flee back through the gateway. Kaa is hot on their heels, but he finds the nuke. He tries to stuff as much material and stickies as he can into the gateway before jumping; he activates the jump just as the nuke goes off, destroying the redoubt, and he and his stickies are forever lost in the system.

  
Copyright
DEATHLANDS, OUTLANDERS, EARTH BLOOD, and JAMES AXLER are all the property of Gold Eagle / Worldwide Library, and are used here strictly under Fair Use guidelines.
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